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Sip in the Sun: Exploring New Orleans’ Best Rooftop Bars

Whether your goal is people watching, star-gazing, or soaking up some vitamin D, the sky is the limit with these rooftop bars.

The Pontchartrain Hotel's Hot Tin has one of the city's best views of downtown. (Courtesy photo)

Fall in New Orleans means a couple of things: football, festivals, and finding a prime spot outdoors to kick back and take in the views of the city. There’s a unique thrill to rooftop bars: they don’t get old as the sights they offer are constantly changing.

The city has a handful of bars to fit your outdoor fancy, with a number of them opening within the past year. So whether your goal is people watching, star-gazing, or soaking up some vitamin D, the sky is the limit with these balcony and rooftop bars.

The Alto rooftop pool and bar at Ace New Orleans. (Photo: Fran Parente)
The Alto rooftop pool and bar at Ace New Orleans. (Photo: Fran Parente)

Rooftop Bars in New Orleans

Ace Hotel’s Alto

600 Carondelet St.

When the Ace Hotel recently opened downtown, they gave New Orleans a unicorn of bar. Alto has rooftop views, a pool built for lounging, ample space for large groups, and no guest key required!  

One side of the terrace features views of the Warehouse District and the Lower Garden District, while the other side gives you a glimpse into the hustle and bustle of the Central Business District. The space is popular amongst the after-work crowd, and the rooftop grill offers a range of bites to complement the formidable cocktail menu.

Relax amongst the skyscrapers, grab a frozen Mai Tai, and get your tan on.

  • Can’t-miss drink(s): The frozen Mai Tai and frozen Blue Hawaii are crowd favorites, adding tropical pops of color to the rooftop tables.
  • Rooftop tip: Bring your swimsuit. Even if you don’t plan on swimming, there’s always a chance the weather is just right, and you’ll want to take a dip.
A streetcar rolls past the Avenue Pub balcony. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
A streetcar rolls past the Avenue Pub balcony. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Avenue Pub

1732 St. Charles Ave.

It’s known as a beer-lover’s haven, but Avenue Pub also happens to have one of the best views of St. Charles Avenue and the Lower Garden District. The wrap-around second story balcony has ample room for large groups as well as secluded two-tops for couples. Choose from more than 40 craft beers on tap, or ask the ever-knowledgable staff for a recommendation. If beer doesn’t fit your fancy, the bar also offers an extensive selection of bourbon, Scotch, and whiskey.

The bar constantly rotates beers on tap and regularly hosts tastings and events — all while staying open 24-7-365! Avenue Pub is an easy place to spend a couple of hours given its breezy location and a kitchen with some of the best bar food in town thanks to consulting chef Nathaniel Zimet of Boucherie

  • Can’t-miss drink(s): With new beers being added daily, this is the perfect spot to find your favorite new brew. Be adventurous, and ask your bartender for a recommendation.
  • Rooftop tip: The upstairs and downstairs bars have different beers on tap — upstairs tends to have more specialty and small-batch brews.
Catahoula Hotel's rooftop bar provides a relaxing space amongst the skyscrapers downtown. (Courtesy photo)
Catahoula Hotel’s rooftop bar provides a relaxing space amongst the skyscrapers downtown. (Courtesy photo)

Catahoula Hotel’s Rooftop Terrace

914 Union St.

Tucked away on a sleepy street in the CBD, the Catahoula Hotel is both discreet and cosmopolitain. It’s a gem of a hotel that is effortlessly modern, Southern, and feels like everyone’s best kept secret. Although, it’s been a hard secret to keep given that the boutique hotel boasts an incredibly stylish rooftop hangout, complete with tiki bar and live music. A multiple-story mural depicting the city’s own Trixie Minx is a hallmark of the memorably decorated oasis.

The blended drink options at the rooftop bar are sure to put you in vacation mode, and with a full bar and cafe downstairs, you may just find yourself wishing you never have to leave.

  • Can’t-miss drink(s): The one-of-a-kind Pisco bar downstairs lets you bring your drinks to the terrace, so be sure to check it out in addition to the tiki bar. 
  • Rooftop tip: During off times, the rooftop bar also provides a quiet place to escape in the middle of the day. Check it out during weekdays to recharge and soak up the sun without a crowd.
A beer flight on the balcony at NOLA Brewing. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)
A beer flight on the balcony at NOLA Brewing. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

NOLA Brewing’s Tap Room

3001 Tchoupitoulas St.

The masterminds at NOLA Brewery turned their fans’ beer dreams into reality by building a welcoming two-story bar adjacent to the brewery. The bar features the staple NOLA Brewery ales while also offering up brews that you won’t find outside of the Irish Channel block. The covered second story porch has plenty of room for large groups, and offers a couple of well-placed TV’s, making the balcony a prime spot to catch a game. If sports isn’t your thing, the tap room also offers the unique opportunity to watch ships pass by on the Mississippi River at eye level. The vibe is casual, so bring a hearty appetite for McClure’s Barbecue and a serious game face for the board games and ping pong table also located in the bar.

  • Can’t-miss drink(s): Grab a flight of beers to sample the magic created at the adjacent brewery.
  • Rooftop tip: Sunny days aren’t necessary to enjoy the porch. The covered balcony and open-air second story bar are great places to enjoy an afternoon thunderstorm while staying high and dry.
The Pontchartrain Hotel's Hot Tin has one of the city's best views of downtown. (Courtesy photo)
The Pontchartrain Hotel’s Hot Tin has one of the city’s best views of downtown. (Courtesy photo)

Pontchartrain Hotel’s Hot Tin

2031 St Charles Ave.

Locals and seasoned tourists alike rejoiced at the news that the Pontchartrain Hotel was reopening. One of the biggest draws to the hotel has been the Hot Tin rooftop bar, which offers a unique view of downtown from a Garden District perch. This penthouse bar is comprised of a large main room with two windowed-lined walls and two balconies. The larger balcony is panorama-picture-worthy, giving patrons a sweeping view from the Superdome to the Mississippi River.

The bar has a wide variety of offerings: classic cocktails, local brews, and extensive wine options. The decor is as delightful and eye-catching as the balcony views, making this hot spot a must-see regardless of weather.

  • Can’t-miss drink(s): You can’t go wrong with a Sazerac or any other classic cocktail here. The menu is updated with seasonal specials, so regardless of the time of year you visit, there’ll be a tasty cocktail to cool you down or warm you up.
  • Rooftop tip: A more secluded balcony is nestled in the back corner of the bar — this balcony is smaller and shows off the Uptown skyline as it gently bends with the river.

Monkey Board

1111 Gravier St. 

Part of the new Troubador hotel, Monkey Board delights guests with sweeping views. Live DJs add to the atmosphere, where funky artwork and a playful cocktail and food menu create a true “night-out” feel.

The bar and food are from the Chef Phillip Lopez, whose restaurants Root, Square Root, Part and Parcel, and Petit Lion (also located in the Troubador) emphasize creativity without sacrificing flavor.

  • Can’t-miss drink(s): The Tia Sangria features a palatable (and strong) mix of rosé and brandy along with honey and fresh, seasonal fruit.
  • Rooftop tip: Located on the 17th floor, Monkey Board is the highest of all rooftop bars in this list. Take advantage of the photo opps!
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